The 2013 Annual Budget was the third annual budget adopted by the Portuguese Government within the framework of the Economic Adjustment Programme entered into between the Portuguese Government and the Troika, which established a plan for budgetary deficit reduction. This note purports to describe and analyse the recent decision of the Portuguese Constitutional Court assessing the constitutionality of the 2013 Budget. We will begin by describing the decision, after which we will review the reasoning adopted and the potential implications arising thereof. The decision is long and touches a multiplicity of different constitutional topics. We will focus on the issues that seem to us to be the most relevant, namely: the Court’s focus on the equality between private and public sector workers, and on the proportionality of the austerity measures applicable to civil servants alone. It is suggested that the Court confuses reasons for the justifiable differentiation of comparable situations with the question of whether the situations are comparable to begin with. The consequence is that the Court ends up falling unwittingly into the political arena more than it should and, one must think, probably would like to.
Keywords: Portugal; Euro crisis; Constitutionality; Principle of equality; Principle of proportionality; Civil servants.